With Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella all set to visit India next week -- around the same time US President Donald Trump is making his first official visit to this part of the world -- the software giant is looking forward to further consolidate its position in the country. At a time when the Indian government is focused on digital transformation across sectors and modernise its IT infrastructure, Microsoft may take Nadella's visit as an opportunity to showcase how it can help government achieve its goals across Cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), smart cities, industrial automation and robotics etc.
"Government engagement is a major focus for Microsoft top management in India for the past two decades, and all the more now with expanding digital plans and also rising nationalist resistance to global digital and tech companies," leading tech policy and media consultant Prasanto K. Roy told IANS.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has on several occasions stressed on the importance of leveraging emerging technologies like AI and ML to solve India's critical problems. The National Crime Records Bureau of the Ministry of Home Affairs, for example, is inviting bids from tech companies to build hardware and software infrastructure that can help the country fight crime with automated facial recognition system.
"It goes without saying that India is an important, and I must add, crucial market for global technology companies, including Microsoft," Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CyberMedia Research (CMR).
"Microsoft's biggest R&D centre outside of the US is based in India, and it has made recent moves to further tap into the engineering talent pool available in India through its new R&D hub. This, in turn, will enable Microsoft to maintain its technology leadership," Ram said.
Microsoft launched its India operations in 1990 and for the past 30 years the company has played a major role in digital transformation of the country. On Monday, it announced the launch of its third India Development Centre (IDC) in Noida, after opening two such premier engineering and innovation hubs in Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
"I foresee a further impetus to Microsoft's digital transformation efforts in India with its cloud and emerging tech stack offerings, including AI," Ram said. While Microsoft is yet to reveal Nadella's forthcoming itinerary, the Hyderabad-born Microsoft CEO is expected to have key engagements in Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai.
The company is organising 'Future Decoded Summits' in Mumbai and Bengaluru, respectively. At the summits, Nadella will share his vision for the future of technology and how Indian organisations can lead in an era of digital transformation.
The events would also see addresses by industry stalwarts and Microsoft executives, including Jean Philippe Courtois, EVP and President, Global Sales-Marketing and Operations. Whether we will see Trump and Nadella sharing the space together is still under the wraps.